The 6 Strangest Ways Buzzfeed has Covered ISIS and Iraq
Because coverage about terrorists should be exciting…?
Buzzfeed, as well as other non-traditional news sources, have done an amazing thing. They have taken hard-hitting new stories and turned them into gifs, memes, listicles, and flashy headlines, captivating audiences and redefining how we interpret news today. Each of the stories above is an example of how Buzzfeed has been able to differentiate itself from traditional news in order to educate a population that perhaps would not consume news elsewhere.
Specifically the number one story, Nelly Just Performed A Concert in Northern Iraq, demonstrates how Buzzfeed incorporates trendy topics into a piece about life in an ISIS-infiltrated city. The piece has text about why Nelly is performing, where he is performing, and the conditions that have made his trip possible, but also it is filled with pictures, tweets, and links to other articles expanding upon the conflict in Kurdish Iraq. This type of coverage is different from traditional news in various ways.
First, the subject matter is wildly different. The New York Times, and other sources alike, probably are not going to fill their sections with coverage about a rap performance. For better or for worse, Buzzfeed is allowed more agency with their stories where traditional news may not be interested or able to cover. The use of flashy material may bring in new readership, but it could also detract from the important information of a story.
Second, non-traditional news are more likely to incorporate a multimedia platform which includes tweets, photos, videos, etc. that may not appear through traditional means. In the Nelly story, three tweets are included giving readers a break from chunks of text an onslaught of information. In a piece by a traditional news source, it may be mainly text, with pictures every so often. The use of various mediums may be beneficial because it breaks up the monotony of a story, yet it could also distract viewers from the main points within a post.
Third, each Buzzfeed story has several embedded links to outside sources to gain more information. These links give the reader the ability to expand further into the topic in order to gain a fuller understanding. Primarily in traditional news the story is reported and few links are included for reference; seldom do they link to websites outside of the own news organization. In particular, the Nelly story has links to NBC news, and a Washington Post article only redirects you within their own website. The assistance that Buzzfeed provides in this manner encourages a more expansive view, but also designates responsibility to the reader in order to expand their knowledge.
In all, Buzzfeed’s ability to reach audiences is extremely effective. In a great way they have been able to captivate viewers by combining alluring stories with serious topics. As long as readers are able to reach beyond the charm of Buzzfeed’s reporting and continue to critically engage in news sites like Buzzfeed can be a useful tool for the future.